Proxy.sh went on to say: "The warrant canary has been particularly designed to make sure we could still move without being legally able to answer questions in a more detailed manner.

Another site, VPNCompare.co.uk, which seems to have been the first to notice the withdrawal of the warrant canary, pointed out that despite Proxy.sh's warning, "The France 8 server coupled with their French servers in general continue to be some of the most utilised of their network."

The article was less than impressed with its overall policy on handing over user data and protecting user privacy—it quoted Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as saying it was the "single worst policy" he had seen.

Significantly, the policy now includes the following section: "We are based in the Republic of Seychelles and if any domestic law or constraint contradicts our mission and values, we will not hesitate to relocate into another location.

We will close business and provide refund to all our present customers within the cash budget we have at our disposal."

Earlier this year, Ars' sister publication Reddit also removed a "warrant canary" from its latest transparency report, in another sign of the growing use of such indirect signalling mechanisms—and of their necessity.

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